The elevator-pitch synopsis of Tom of Your Life — a child is born that ages four years every hour — may sound familiar. Hollywood has occasionally trotted out films of a rapidly aging child as a metaphor for us to all reflect on how we (mis)spend our lives. Well-intentioned as the Jacks, Buttons, and Gumps may be, they often fall into standing ponds of treacle surrounded by thick briar patches of bathetic barbs.
But even within its first few minutes of the film, when the titular child Tom is being snuck out of the hospital in a rolling trashcan pushed by sympathetic nurse Jess (Baize Buzan) and subsequently shoved into its too-small trunk, you can sense there is something different with Tom.
“…a child is born that ages four years every hour…”
The film marks the directorial debut of Jeremy Sklar, who also serves as writer, soundtrack composer, and even as Tom himself for a stretch. He not only manages to tiptoe around the swamp of schmaltz with his vision but has crafted a feature in which each of its characters is funny and flawed, brave and bruised, and just generally engaging in spending 90 minutes with.
Nurse Jess has all but the best intentions for Tom, who is already about 4 and about to “turn 8” when she kidnaps him. She wants the child to experience life in his short time instead of undergoing rigorous testing to study his condition. But Jess is far too manic and unbalanced to have a distinct plan on how to accomplish this, and Tom’s leaps in life derail even the most simple tasks.
"…Tom trots along from one beguiling awkward setup to the next, breaking only to laugh a little along the way. "